There are at least a hundred ways for every singer/songwriter to improve his or her chances of success, but these are the five I already know that need to be addressed without even seeing your show. They are inherent in virtually every aspiring (and sadly many seasoned) singer/songwriter's performance.

FIX #5: WHAT'S YOUR NAME?

How many times has someone told you about a great act they saw the night before but had no idea as to the artist's name? Hang a banner in the back, put a logo on the front of your keyboard, have your name in pearl inlays on your fretboard, whatever. Make sure that there's something on stage that somehow visually embeds your name into the mind's eye of each audience member so that they will remember you, your music, and your name.

FIX #4: NO VISUAL VARIETY

If all of your songs are sung into a mic standing at center stage, the audience will be bored by song three. Move the mic stand to different places on the stage, sit on the front of the stage, go into the crowd, use a bar stool, sing something a cappella away from the mic and get the audience to sing along. Every song must be presented with a different visual; otherwise all of your songs are going to all "sound alike" to your audience.

FIX #3: TOO MANY DISTRACTIONS

The audience only needs to see your mouth, your eyes and your hands. THAT'S IT! Anything else on stage that may divert their attention away from those three visual means of communication is an unnecessary distraction. That means no flowered shirts or pants, no red boots, no wild hats or hairdos, no white guitars, no musical instrument logos, and above all, little to no skin.

FIX #2: TOO MANY MID-TEMPO SONGS

Mid-tempo songs are stock in trade for all budding singer/songwriters, but performed live to an unfamiliar audience, they're boring, boring, boring. The first and best way to get to an audience to respond to you right away is by the FEEL of the songs of your set. An up-tempo song (preferably a shuffle) gets their heads nodding and their feet tapping. Always start and end your set with an up-tempo song. And put a slow, heart-wrenching ballad or two in there. If you MUST do any mid-tempo songs, make them well-known cover songs so that the audience can at least sing along while they're waiting for another up-tempo shuffle.

AND THE #1 FIX: EVERY SINGER/SONGWRITER NEEDS TO DO: STOP EATING THE MIC

Again, you have three ways to visually communicate your emotions to your audience – your hands, your eyes, and your mouth. If you eat the mic, no one can see your mouth. There is no reason to eat the mic in this day and age where even the most modest sound system is better than years ago. Get the sound tech to raise the preamp gain to a level just short of feedback. Position the mic at a 45-degree angle at the bottom of your chin. Stop this bad habit now! (Side note: lose the shades as well.)

The 96 other ways to improve your show and your career are spelled out in greater detail in my newest book – The Singer/Songwriter Rule Book: 101 Ways To Help Improve Your Chances Of Successavailable at Amazon in digital and book form: https://amzn.to/2Hk7it4.